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February 07, 2022
Chinese weightlifter Tian Tao made a surprising announcement after a brief retirement, he is coming back for more! Tian Tao took to his Instagram account to let the world know that he plans to step back into the competitive weightlifting scene and aims to possibly compete at the 2024 Olympics in the 89kg weight class.
Born in 1994, Tian Tao is originally from Hubei, China. He began his weightlifting journey as a 10-year-old. By the time he was 17, he had won at the 77kg class during the China Intercity Games in 2011. Tian Tao gained notoriety at the games as the weights he lifted were enough to best some world records even though it wasn’t an internationally recognized event.
Since then, Tao has been a fixture on one of the world’s most successful weightlifting teams over the past ten years. His first big win came in 2014, where he won a gold medal in the 85kg class at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. He then took silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 85 kg class. Tao set an Olympic record that still stands at this event, where he lifted 217kg (477.4lbs) in the clean & jerk.
In 2018 the Olympic weightlifting weight classes changed, and Tian Tao moved up to the 96 kg class. He found success here and set the clean & jerk world record at 231kg (508.2lbs) back in 2019 at the Tokyo Test event. His last gold medal in an international competition came in 2020 at the Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he competed in the 96kg class.
It was only last year in June that Tian Tao had announced his retirement from the sport on YouTube after he had failed to be selected by China to compete at the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.
Fast forward a few months, and here we are with Tao posting to his Instagram,
“This month I will return to the National Team and compete as an 89-kilogram athlete.”
The weight classes for the 2024 Paris Olympics haven’t been confirmed yet, but we do know that the 81 and 97 kg classes are out. This means that athletes from those classes could compete at the 89 kg class, including Tian Tao’s teammate Lu Xiaojun, making the 89 class uber-competitive.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this competitive landscape, and you can expect Tian Tao to be one vying for a spot on the podium in the near future. Once the weight classes are confirmed we will make sure to update everyone.
Related: What Are Olympic Lifts?
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